Alphabet layoffs: Company trades recruitment team for tech talent

Google-parent Alphabet late on Wednesday let go of hundreds of employees from its recruiting team in continuation of its efforts to operate more efficiently as macroeconomic uncertainty looms.

The company, which faces stiff competition from Microsoft, AWS, IBM, and Oracle in the field of generative AI and artificial intelligence, is looking to trade non-technical roles for engineering and technical talent.

“As we’ve said, we continue to invest in top engineering and technical talent while also meaningfully slowing the pace of our overall hiring,” a Google spokesperson said in an email statement.

In July, Alphabet’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat, during an earnings call, said that the company would “remain very focused on durably reengineering its cost base,” despite having already laid off 12,000 staffers in January this year, which saw some recruiters impacted as well.  

The decision to reduce the number of roles in the recruiting team, according to the company, is directly related to the lowering demand for such roles over the next few quarters.

“The volume of requests for our recruiters has gone down. In order to continue our important work to ensure we operate efficiently, we have made the hard decision to reduce the size of our recruiting team,” the spokesperson said.

Several staffers, who were laid off on Wednesday, took to social media sites such as LinkedIn to share their plight and look for new roles elsewhere.

“At 10 am today, all of Google Staffing got an email that there would be a meeting at Noon – it said there was going to be hard news and we should work from home,” an employee with the staffing division shared.

Another Googler, who was responsible for hiring in the company’s cloud arm, also took to LinkedIn to share the news of her dismissal. A separate staffer, who was overlooking talent acquisition in the public sector space, said that he was let go as well.

To support its laid-off employees, the company said it will be offering outplacement services and severance packages.

In the last sequential quarter, Alphabet reported a 7% increase in revenue for the quarter ended June, driven by the growth in its cloud computing division.  

Despite macroeconomic uncertainty affecting customers’ cloud expenditure, Google Cloud maintained its growth momentum, reporting a 28% increase in revenue. The division’s net sales stood at $8 billion compared to $6.27 billion for the same period last year.

The company faced criticism for laying off staffers in its cloud division earlier this year, especially the ones responsible for driving Google Cloud’s open source strategy.

Investors in the company, too, have been pushing for more layoffs. The first nudge came from London-based TCI Capital Fund Management right after the company decided to reduce 6% of its total workforce.

TCI Capital’s second letter, written on the day Alphabet announced the layoffs, argued that the company should reduce its cost base further by cutting its workforce back to the 150,000 it employed at the end of 2021. Before the 6% reduction, the company had 187,000 staffers on payroll.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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